Buenos Dias MSPP Community,
We arrived safely in Guayaquil, Ecuador last Saturday, July 21 and were greeted by our new host families, the Lucero Family, and representatives from El Centro Ecuatoriano NorteAmericano (CEN). We will be taking language classes at CEN in the afternoon and conducting clinical rotations at various sites throughout the city.
Our first site is Fundacion Crecer (Growth), which provides services to children and adolescents whom work in the city’s streets, such as street vendors or performers. To spare the extraneous clinical details, many of these children have lived extremely impoverished and disenfranchised lives. The local psychologist with whom we are working is very sensitive to their clinical needs, yet also incorporates strength-based and expressive arts therapies into the work. We’ve been working in pairs alongside her, while the other dyad observes the clinical interview from behind a one-way mirror. It’s wonderful to have such clinical and cultural depth in our daily case reviews and team meetings.
We traveled as a cohort to Cuenca, Ecuador, which is an old city based in the Andes Mountains. We walked throughout the cobblestone streets, touring the local churches and cathedrals, as well as Cuenca’s renowned sombrero factory. Afterwards, we left the city and went exploring in the mountains. The highlight of our weekend was undoubtedly our trout-fishing excursion; we caught trout in a small pond and the restaurant next door cleaned and fried them for us. It’s about as fresh as “fresh seafood” gets.
Hopefully technology will allow me to post a picture of the four of us in the Andes Mountains (see below).